Some news on Triple H’s backstage reaction to the ongoing clearout of NXT 1.0, why we could be in for a chaotic road to WrestleMania, WWE kind of opening a ‘Forbidden Door’… maybe, and more. It’s Monday morning, what better way to start the week than catching up on all the wrestling news from this past weekend – I’m Liam Winnard and this is the WrestleTalk.com audio news bulletin for Monday, January 10, 2022.
You can listen to today’s bulletin here:
Triple H Reaction To NXT Clearout
One of the biggest stories of last week was the continuation of Triple H’s horror story – his baby being dismantled from within, with WWE gutting and restructuring the NXT system. The likes of Road Dogg, Gabe Sapolsky, Samoa Joe and William Regal – yes, William Regal – were all released by WWE on Thursday, and as we know, this is something that’s been going on for a number of months now.
So how has Triple H been coping? Well, he’s had a rough few months regardless of the situation since he had a cardiac event last September, but now that he’s starting to get back into the swing of working, you’d have had to think he wouldn’t be particularly happy about the state of what he’s come back to.
Well, according to Wade Keller on the PWTorch podcast, it sounds like Triple H is quote “bummed out” by what’s going on… which is fair enough, isn’t it really. Keller mentioned that Triple H’s idea was to assemble his team of troops, which obviously included a bunch of the names who were released, with a vision for that to be his team if he was ever to take over running the main roster. So perhaps there’s a little bit to read into the likelihood – or lack thereof – of that happening now.
In another piece of NXT related news, former NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa and Pete Dunne were the dark match prior to this past Friday night’s episode of SmackDown, which would suggest they could be on the verge of a call-up, or, as despressing as it is to say, on the verge of being let go, because we’ve seen both of those transpire after main roster tryout matches in the recent past, and trying to predict whether Vince McMahon is going to like someone nowadays is like trying to predict an earthquake – scientifically impossible.
Road To WrestleMania In Chaos?
Another thing that seems scientifically impossible to predict right now is the road to WrestleMania and how said road is going to play out. With Roman Reigns missing Day 1, plans were reshuffled and his scheduled WrestleMania opponent Brock Lesnar is now the champion of the other brand.
Dave Meltzer has reported numerous times since then that the planned match between Reigns and Lesnar is still on, as is the other top championship match, which is Seth Rollins – who was the originally planned winner of the WWE Championship match at Day 1 – defending the WWE Title against someone else.
So both of those matches are still scheduled and planned, but the road on how we’re going to get there has obviously changed significantly. What we do know currently is that Brock Lesnar is set to defend Raw’s WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley at Royal Rumble, and Roman Reigns is set to defend SmackDown’s Universal Championship against Seth Rollins… who is a member of the Raw roster.
Well, one of the theories – and this is just a theory – that has been doing the rounds this past weekend, is that WWE could actually end up switching the titles between brands. This would come in the form of Brock Lesnar remaining WWE Champion by beating Bobby Lashley and taking the title to SmackDown for his feud with Reigns, and Seth Rollins somehow beating Reigns for the Universal Title, and taking that to Raw.
That way, WWE can still have Lesnar and Rollins defending championships at WrestleMania, which is what the plan was originally going to be, just that they’ll be defending a different championship.
WWE’s (Maybe) ‘Forbidden Door’
Another thing fans have been speculating about over the weekend is what on earth’s going on between WWE and IMPACT Wrestling.
AEW President Tony Khan coined the phrase ‘Forbidden Door’ last year, signifying the promotion working with a number of other companies including IMPACT and New Japan, but WWE may have just opened a Forbidden Door of its own.
During SmackDown on Friday, WWE announced 19 competitors for the women’s Royal Rumble match, which included Hall of Famers, legends, but most notably, current IMPACT Knockouts Champion Mickie James. WWE even mentioned IMPACT on air during the announcement and on social media.
Ringside News – which has had many reports confirmed as being accurate by the likes of Fightful and Dave Meltzer in recent times – has followed up with a report on Vince McMahon’s current philosophy about working with people from other companies.
According to said report, Vince “doesn’t care” and there “no borders”, and being contracted somewhere else is “not an issue anymore”. There was no mention of any future plans or anything like that, but this philosophy in itself is a pretty big change.
The report also mentioned that any speculation or rumor that WWE is working with IMPACT specifically as a jab at AEW… isn’t true.
You can find a full list of confirmed Rumble entrants by going to WrestleTalk.com/stats and scrolling down to the Royal Rumble section.
In other little bits of news…
Speaking of IMPACT, the promotion held its Hard To Kill show this past weekend, which saw Mickie James retain the Knockouts Title against Deonna Purrazzo in the main event, as well as Moose retaining the IMPACT World Title against Matt Cardona and W Morrissey, after which Moose challenged Roman Reigns to a match now that the Forbidden Door has been nudged ajar. The show also featured Jonathan Gresham retaining the ROH World Championship Chris Sabin, and several members of the ROH roster invading and standing tall to close the show. Another interesting note is that former WWE announcer Tom Phillips is now IMPACT’s lead announcer.
WWE announced a foot injury to Sasha Banks that is expected to keep her out of action for six-eight weeks, meaning she’ll miss the Royal Rumble. The injury was sustained at a house show on January 2, and we wish Sasha all the best with her recovery.
AEW held Battle of the Belts – the first TNT quarterly special of the year – on Saturday night. The show saw Sammy Guevara beating Dustin Rhodes to become the Interim TNT Champion – Guevara was originally set to challenge Cody Rhodes for the TNT Title, but Cody was off the show due to family testing positive for COVID-19. Elsewhere on the show, Ricky Starks retained the FTW Championship over Matt Sydal, and Britt Baker beat Riho to remain AEW Women’s World Champion. All other AEW champions – except Cody – were in action in dark matches after the main show.
There’s currently one match announced for tonight’s episode of Raw, that being a Raw Tag Team Championship match with RK-Bro defending against the Alpha Academy, after the Alpha Academy won a non-title match between the two teams last week.
Be sure to stay tuned to WrestleTalk.com throughout the day to keep up with all the news from the world of pro-wrestling, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning for another round-up.